Tuesday 23 November 2004

travelling vicariously through others

I never used to enjoy hearing about other people's travels or looking at their photos after a holiday. I'd nod and smile, and think to myself why on earth would you want to get on a plane for 10 hours and end up somewhere you don't speak the language and the drinking water is dodgy? When I started travelling myself, I finally understood what people meant by "being bitten by the travel bug". I started reading travel guides and books by Bill Bryson, and was actually interested in hearing about other people's holidays (on the most part - stories about two weeks in Ibizia aren't quite as fascinating to me). So when unique travel programmes pop up on television, I get hooked. Recently added to my viewing list is "Long Way Round" and "Billy Connolly's World Tour of New Zealand" (sadly, Michael Palin's "Himalayas" series has just ended).

"Long Way Round" follows Ewan McGregor (eeee!!) and his mate Charlie as they make their way east from England to New York on motorcycles. It's not really one of those shows that makes you want to head to the shop, buy a bike, and head out yourself; it's nail-biting and fascinating and makes you think "better them than me, and oooh isn't this sofa comfy?" The Billy Connolly programme follows the same format as his other world tour series; it's a travelogue interspersed with clips from his live shows. This programme really makes me want to spend an ungodly amount of time on an airplane to visit New Zealand, rather that let Billy enjoy it for us. Plus, I bet the drinking water in New Zealand isn't dodgy.

If I could go anywhere in the world (no expense spared and let's pretend that I'm not semi-heavy with child), I would go to Japan. It's partly a getting back to my roots thing, an interest cultivated by the brief glimpses into the culture via my family. Where would you go?

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